VIC Tenant absconded

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Danny789, 25th May, 2020.

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  1. Danny789

    Danny789 Member

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    Hi All,


    I have a situation where the tenant had signed up for a 12 month lease and 5 weeks later absconded the property. It was found that the tenant had multiple arrest warrants from the police.

    The tenant (criminal) didn't make any rent payments at all or even the bond to the agent, but the agent kept paying me. It turned out that the tenant had made up receipt screenshots as a stalling tactic to the agent. The agent tells me that they did the employment and previous tenancy reference checks but the mobile numbers given to them by the tenant were actually of the tenant's friends. The agent felt that the tenant was genuine.

    I have no choice but to lodge an insurance claim.

    What is the responsibility of the agent here to rectify this? They have so far lodged an application to VCAT to take possession of the property legally.

    What could've been done to prevent this situation? What should I do moving forward?

    Apparently, the agent does not do any credit history or criminal reference checks. Shouldn’t that be part of their normal procedures prior to signing up any tenant?
     
  2. jaydee

    jaydee Well-Known Member

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    How does tenant get given keys without Bond or first 2 week rent paid?

    Property Manager is negligent.
     
  3. Mel Morgan

    Mel Morgan Sydney Property Manager Business Member

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    There is obviously an issue here with your PMs, how do they manage to pay you if they haven't received any physical funds? How did they get a bond lodgement notification? It really doesn't sound like they've done their job.
     
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  4. inertia

    inertia Well-Known Member

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    AND the PM has been making rental disbursements to you?

    Sounds like a property manager issue. You should not wear the cost (or indeed have to claim on insurance) for their monumental stuff up.

    Cheers,
    Inertia.
     
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  5. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    name and shame the agent, that is beyond a joke!

    of all the worst PMs ive ever come across, yours if true, would be worse than that
     
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  6. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    How did the agent make disbursements to you if there was no funds in your account?

    Does the tenant owe you any money If the agent has made disbursements to you?

    What are you going to claim on insurance?

    Have you reimbursed the agency for it's incorrect disbursements?
     
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  7. Danny789

    Danny789 Member

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    The agent tells me that the tenant had sent a screenshot of the bank transfer and then had a lot stalling tactics. The agent decided to pay me for 4 weeks though.

    The tenant apparently hasn't damaged the property so they don't really owe me money directly I guess. They have absconded, and recently been arrested.

    I was going to claim a loss of rent from insurance. Any other ideas?

    I haven't reimbursed the agent and haven't been requested to either.

    I can't progress until we hear back from VCAT to take legal possession of the property so it can be advertised again.
     
  8. Danny789

    Danny789 Member

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    How can I get around this without an insurance claim? Is it the responsibility of the real estate office to now keep paying me?
     
  9. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Engaged a competent agent, not the cheapest, most overworked, most under-resourced, inexperienced or incompetent one available.

    Only If they receive rent from the tenant.

    Has the agent sent a breach notice to the tenant for non-payment of rent?
     
    Last edited: 25th May, 2020
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  10. Archaon

    Archaon Well-Known Member

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    How can an agent pay you money they haven't collected, where did it come from, did they reimburse you out of their own pocket?
     
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  11. Lil Skater

    Lil Skater Well-Known Member Business Member

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    Wait. What. So many things wrong with this!

    1. Why did the tenant get keys without cleared first months’ rent and bond?
    2. How did the agent not realise who they were talking to? I doubt they even checked.
    3. You don’t do criminal history checks (it’s a long process, expensive and you need their agreement), but you can use Google, Facebook, NTD/TICA and your gut instinct.
    4. HOW was the agent paying you? Trust accounts are heavily audited and if they’re taking money from Joe to pay you that is an offence.
    5. Did they issue any breach notices for non payment of bond? Did they contact CAV to assist with the non payment of rent (this is a temporary process)? Was an application to VCAT made for the rent prior to the tenant leaving?

    When is the VCAT hearing?

    This whole thing is pure negligence. You can also start the process with insurance, I’d be notifying them immediately and sending all docs you can before VCAT.
     
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  12. Danny789

    Danny789 Member

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    1. No idea. I wish I knew. Agency didn't notify me of this until recently, which was 5 weeks after the tenant had moved in. The tenant has recently absconded.
    2. Again, no idea. I have recently seen the written references provided by the tenant to the agency, and they have so many flaws in them. For instance, the previous employer doesn't even exist and an office number wasn't even provided. Previous landlord was through private, not an agency.
    3. I don't think they did any of those checks. I picked up quite a few obvious things through a simple google search myself.
    4. The agency was paying me to my bank account and also sent statements to show the payment period.
    5. They didn't issue any of those, as the rules changed due to COVID-19. Application to VCAT only made recently, once the tenant had absconded, after the tenant was living there for 5 weeks (rent and bond free).

    The agency is still waiting for VCAT to get back to them. I've already sent the insurer all the information I have.

    Is there much I can do for now? What treatment should be given to the agency after all this?
     
  13. Danny789

    Danny789 Member

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    I guess they just paid me from their own pocket. I received statements with payment periods, and the payments were made directly to my bank account.
     
  14. MB18

    MB18 Well-Known Member

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    Ive mentioned this on here before but I am a long term tenant, I have rented many properties over the years and not one PM or owner has done much in the way of background checks. Im not complaining, but if I was the owner of the property Id be shocked.

    About as indepth as the checks go are to provide a couple of recent payslips and a reference of a previous PM/Landlord. I did have one phone my employer too but that was the exception.
    There are no credit checks, and certainly no criminal history checks.
    I assume there is a tenancy database that can be checked but I doubt one state talk to another if there even is.

    And yes, using friends as references is more common than you think. I've done it after having a tribunal decision awarded in my favor against a previous landlord, and Ive also acted as a reference for friends in the same position - and if you think most PMs are asking any indepth questions beyond 'are they tidy?, do they pay thier rent?, would they make a good tenant?' you are sorely mistaken. The 'reference check' is usually over in less than a minute.

    Is it right? nope, but thats the reality out there.

    I am surprised they didn't have to at least have the deposit cleared which is usually two weeks rent (ie cleared, not just paid).
     
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  15. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Must be a really nice agent with a high sense of duty who would hate to upset their owners when there's no rent in their account.
     
  16. datto

    datto Well-Known Member

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    Wow the agency paid from their own pocket. And no bond. Nah. I can’t believe it.
     
  17. Spiralkut

    Spiralkut Well-Known Member

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    Kinda sounds like they know they stuffed up so tried covering it by paying you some of the rent. I wouldn't be surprised if the PM personally knew the guy and was doing a favour.
     
  18. Danny789

    Danny789 Member

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    I'm pretty sure that isn't the case. The tenant was recently arrested and had multiple arrest warrants and a history. I PM is a bit younger and possibly not as experienced.
     
  19. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Time to stop dealing with the PM and start dealing with the licensee in charge or the senior PM. The Jnr PM does not have the authority to release funds, this is done by the trust accountant or agency bookeeper who would not jeopardise the agency licence by paying out funds which so not belong to you.
     
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  20. Danny789

    Danny789 Member

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    Yep, not dealing with the PM anymore. Dealing with the licensee for this whole issue.